I started reading this book knowing that I was going to leave convicted and maybe even a little anxious. I was right to an extent … But more so I woke up to the reality of the world’s physical and spiritual need.
Refusing to beat around the bush, Platt calls the church out on its watered-down gospel and its shallow fulfillment of God’s calling. Platt asserts that we as a church have chased the American Dream to the neglect of our higher spiritual purpose. According to Platt, Christianity is more than just ‘Admit. Believe. Confess.’ It’s a surrendering to the Lordship of Christ. It’s allowing His Holy Spirit to indwell us, motivate us, and work through us. This may involve loss of earthly belongings, even our lives.
For those of us in the United States, we live fairly comfortable lives. It is not wrong to enjoy the blessings we have been given. But we have not been given these gifts to hoard them. God blesses us so we may bless others.
Platt grounds his argument for fulfilling the Great Commission in the grace of God, reminding His readers that we do not serve God in order to earn salvation but because the indwelling Holy Spirit compels us to reach others with the love and forgiveness that we ourselves have experienced.
I expected much of the content in this book, but occasionally Platt hit me with an angle from which I had never seen before. For example, Platt asserted that we as Christians focus too much on God’s love for us without emphasizing His desire to glorify Himself. God ultimately shows us His love as a means of bringing Himself glory. This assertion begs the question, ‘Does this make God selfish?’. Platt impressed me with the way he wisely addressed and refuted this objection:
This is a good question, and it causes us to pause until we ask the follow-up-question: Whom else would we have him exalt? At the very moment God exalted someone or something else, he would no longer be the great God worthy of all glory in all the universe, which he is.
Who could he glorify other than Himself? He is the only one worthy of this praise.
Along with deep theological discussions like this one, Platt explains the deep simple truths of the gospel clearly. He paints the fallen state of humanity and of those in unreached places in striking color that convicts.
Many Christians belong to the camp that believes those who don’t hear the gospel will go to Heaven anyway, because How could God send them to Hell?
This sounds like a beautiful sentiment. But Platt opened my eyes to the consequences of this theology:
If these people who do not give their lives to Christ still find salvation, does that not mean that there is more than one way to God? That Jesus is not really the Way, the Truth, and the Light?
Platt takes it a step further:
If people will go to heaven precisely because they never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus, then the worst thing we could do for their eternal state would be to go to them and tell them about Jesus. That would only increase their chances of going to hell!
The realization that this cannot be is a necessary wake up call to those of us who think, ‘Someone else will share the gospel with them. It’s not my job.’ The fact of the matter is that it is our job. In fact it’s our calling.
At the end of this convicting book, Platt provides a year-long Radical Experiment for his readers, calling them to:
- Pray for the entire world
- Read through the entire Word
- Commit their lives to multiplying community
- Sacrifice their money for a specific purpose
- Give their time in another context
If you read Radical, prepare to feel convicted. Prepare to realize just how much you have that you don’t really need. Prepare to be woken up. Prepare to see yourself and the world differently.
The church needs this. We need this.